Delegates at the 6th SADC Multi-Stakeholder Water Dialogue have called for more practical interventions to facilitate breaking down the culture of working in sectoral silos towards integrated planning and implementation of development programmes.The 6th SADC Multi-Stakeholder Water Dialogue which was held under the theme, Watering Development in SADC: Exploring the Water, Energy and Food Nexus on 1st and 2nd October 2013 in Lusaka, Zambia, was organised by the SADC Secretariat in collaboration with the Global Water Partnership Southern Africa (GWP-SA).
About 170 delegates from the Government Departments of Water, Energy, Agriculture, Economic Planning and Finance attended the Dialogue whose objective was to create awareness and understanding of the “Water, Energy and Food Nexus” to ensure that the nexus approach found consideration at the highest level, in the countries and at the SADC regional level.The Dialogue was also attended by representatives from civil society, private sector, International Cooperation Partners (ICPs), institutions involved in research and development, professional associations and the media.
Delegates noted that while policy instruments existed at the SADC regional level which took cognisance of the nexus approach, such as the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and the SADC Regional Water Policy, more practical interventions were needed to break the practice of working in silos.
The Executive Secretary for the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) Dr. Bai-Mass Taal, said in his key note address that even in situations where water and energy were under the same ministry, practitioners and policy makers sometimes overlooked the interconnections in their approach to developing programmes and policies.Zambia’s Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development Mr Charles Zulu said his Ministry was experiencing the benefits of joint planning and implementations of projects by the water, energy and mining sectors.Officials from the SADC Secretariat’s Water, Energy, Meteorology and Agriculture Sectors gave examples of their efforts towards inter-sectoral integrated planning.
SADC Secretariat Senior Programme Officer in the Water Sector Mr. Phera Ramoeli said that the nexus approach would help the SADC regional practice the Integrated Water Resources Management concept as well as contribute to the integration and cooperation in the management of water resources. Through presentations and panel discussions the dialogue unpacked the meaning of the nexus approach and what it means for the SADC region.Overall, the Dialogue concluded that in order to promote the nexus approach and break the culture of working in sectoral silos, there was need to:
•Work with champions at different levels who can drive the nexus approach.
•Create integrated platforms and work within existing institutions for planning and implementation of the nexus, and to deepen the understanding of how these mechanisms can function at the different levels – learning from where it was working.
•Vigorously engage the private sector as a main user of the water, energy and food resources in the nexus discussion. However, clear policies and regulations for engagement needed to be put in place in order to protect the social responsibilities.
•Look at the potential of expanding the mandates of regional institutions like the River Basin Organization so that they can be involved in driving the nexus approach.
•Develop clear policies for integrative research on the nexus approach. In setting the research agenda there is need to bring the different sectors and players together from the on-set, build capacity on integrated research, build partnerships that will drive the nexus approach, and develop coordinating mechanisms for research strategy.
•Highlight the importance of the ecosystem in the nexus approach through knowledge sharing and recognizing the role that the environment plays as a user and source of the resource.
•Understand the consequences of interventions in the different sectors by looking at the whole system. The nexus should therefore be linked with climate variability and climate change issues in seeking ways the nexus can contribute to building climate resilience.
The 6th SADC Multi-Stakeholder Water Dialogue was supported by the Government of Denmark through by the Royal Danish Embassy in Lusaka, the Government of Germany in delegated cooperation with the Governments of Australia (AUSaid) and the United Kingdom (UKaid) managed by GIZ.Since 2007 SADC has conducted the Multi-stakeholder Water Dialogue as a platform for regional stakeholders to discuss and share experiences on different aspcets of Integrated Water Resources Management ( IWRM).